Irish Lotto was first drawn in April 1988 and has distributed thousands of multimillion-Euro prizes to lucky players for over 25 years. Along with other games offered by the Irish National Lottery, Irish Lotto has raised much-needed funds for projects related to health and welfare, youth initiatives, culture and national heritage, sport, the arts and the Irish language within the Republic.
The game’s original matrix required players to match six main numbers drawn from a possible 36 in order to win the top prize until an attempt was made in 1992 by a 28-strong syndicate to buy up all of the possible combinations. They succeeded in purchasing a winning ticket, but had to make do with just a third of the jackpot after two other ticket holders also matched all six main balls. The structure of the game was changed later that year to ensure that such a scheme would be too financially prohibitive to repeat, with players having to match six numbers out of 39. This increased the odds of winning the top prize, but the lottery also doubled the starting value of the jackpot and introduced the Bonus Ball to boost prizes in non-jackpot tiers.
The ball pool was increased to 42 in 1994 and 45 in 2006. Since Thursday 3rd September 2015, players have had to match six main numbers from 47 in order to win the Irish Lotto jackpot. This most recent increase was introduced along with a raft of other features, such as an extra prize tier being created for matching two main numbers and the Bonus Ball and an increase in the Match 5+1 prize from a fixed €25,000 to an estimated prize of €100,000. The September 2015 changes were branded Bigger, Better Lotto as part of an effort to create larger jackpots and generate more interest in the game.
Irish Lotto Draw
Irish Lotto is drawn on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when six main numbers and a Bonus Ball are dispensed in the main game. There are two additional draws, Lotto Plus 1 and Lotto Plus 2, which players can enter with the same set of numbers that they have chosen for Irish Lotto itself. It costs an extra €1 to play both draws, but they offer top prizes of €500,000 and €250,000 respectively.
A Lotto Plus Raffle was introduced in September 2015, providing an additional prize of €300 for matching the four digit code on your Lotto Plus ticket with the one drawn on the night.
How to Win Irish Lotto
In order to play Irish Lotto you must pick six numbers from a choice of 47. Prizes are awarded for matching anything from two main numbers and the Bonus Ball upwards, with the jackpot being won by anyone who matches all six main numbers. Players who match three, four or five balls can increase the value of any prize they might win if they also match the Bonus Ball, which is drawn after the first six numbers.
Those who match two main numbers and the Bonus Ball win a €3 scratchcard, whilst those who match five and the Bonus Ball are awarded an average sum of €100,000. Winnings are paid in a tax-free lump sum to Irish residents, but local taxes may apply if you play Irish Lotto from outside of the country.
The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 10,737,573, which makes Irish Lotto very popular with players around the world as the chances of claiming the top prize are much more promising than many other big money lotteries. There is a full breakdown of the prize fund and the odds of winning within each prize tier at the Irish Lotto Prizes page.